Presumed Innocent

Scott Turow writes an engrossing book based on love, obsession, and the legal
system. In the beginning the protagonist character, Rusty Sabich, a District
Prosecuting Attorney (P.A.) begins the story in first person speaking about what
is expected of him as a P.A. His voice gives reason that he is unhappy and lacks
faith in the legal system. Rusty has been accused of a horrible crime, rape and
murder. Turow’s story depicts a typical situation of a person being set up. The
ending will ravish your outlook on love and infidelity. Rusty speaks of his
sorrow for a peer who has been raped and murdered. Her name is Carolyn Polhemus.


She was a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Kindle County. She was known to excel
in her job of prosecuting rapist and her reputation became that of a slut.

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Raymond Horgan, the acting P.A. and Rusty Sabichs’ boss asks him personally to
investigate her murder. Rusty and his co-worker, Lipranzer “Lip”, talk
over the case and decide that it would be best to start with the men that
Carolyn had put behind bars. This inquiry led them to a missing file, dubbed the
“B” file, meaning bribery. The “B” file becomes a crucial
twist to the plot. Rusty is seeing a psychiatrist. The first session that Turow
reveals is that of Rusty talking of his affair with Carolyn Palhemus. He goes
back in time as he discusses his compulsive, obsession for her. They began their
affair after they won the case of a young boy who was brutally abused by his own
mother. The book gives explicit, erotic details of their sexual encounters
together. Carolyn ends the affair with Rusty because she can not talk him into
pushing Raymond to the side and running for office himself. This change in
professional status for Rusty would in turn give Carolyn the chance to move up
in the ranks. Rusty does not deal with the break up and continues to persue
Carolyn at the office and via telephone. He did not want the affair to end, nor
would he have left his wife for her. Rusty confessed to his wife, Barbara that
he was having an affair with Carolyn Polyhemus, but that it had ended. The
fingerprint report is back and the prints belong to Rusty. There several phone
calls from Rusty’s home to Carolyn’s home. Lip also told him that the pathology
results lead to type A blood and type A semen and that the person was sterile.


Rusty made the comment that he is type A and Lip said that he thought about
that; however, Rusty has a son. The evidence against Rusty is taking a huge toll
on the election of Rusty’s boss, Raymond Horgan. Raymond Horgan, a knoble man,
looses the election to a man who used to work him, Nicco Della Guardia, an
unfare, dirty player. Rusty’s house is searched and tests are performed on
carpet and coat fibers. Rusty’s wife is surprisingly very strong and supportive
for Rusty. Shortly after the results come in Rusty is arrested for the rape and
murder of Carolyn Polhemus. He hires the best and most expensive Defense
Attorney in town, Sandy Stern. In the mean time, Lip has found that the
“B” file leads to a criminal named Leon who had Carolyn as a probation
officer. Raymond finds out about Rusty’s affair with Carolyn and Rusty finds out
about Raymond’s affair with Carolyn. Rusty is stunned and Raymond is pissed-off.


Rusty, being Raymonds right-hand-man for twelve years, is furious when he learns
that Raymond plans to testify against him since he withheld the fact that he had
an affair with Carolyn. Raymond gave Caroloyn a case that she wasn’t necessarily
qualified for. He gave in to her like the all the other men did. Carloyn was a
seasoned bitch. Turow never gives out the identity of the murderer; however,
throughout the trial he leads you to believe that it is Rusty. The trial begins
and right away the biggest piece of evidence is missing, the beer glass
containing Rusty’s fingerprints which was removed from Carolyn’s apartment. The
fingerprint expert is allowed to testify even though the glass itself is missing
from the evidence room. The evidence presented of the carpet fibers matched
Rusty’s home carpet fibers and pathology report of bodily fluids automatically
fingers Rusty as the murderer. Rusty’s lawyer believes that Rusty was set-up by
Nicco to make Raymond’s campaign look bad, leading to Nicco winning the
election. Lip was removed from the case, but being a close friend of Rusty’s,
researches and finds Leon. The two of them go to visit Leon and leave with proof
that Judge Larren Lyttle, who happens to be the judge for Rusty’s case, was paid
through Carolyn the sum of $5,000 to remove charges against him. They also found
out that Carolyn had an affair with Judge Lyttle. Rusty tells his lawyer about
visiting Leon and this concludes the importance of the “B” file.


Knowing that Judge Lyttle would catch on, Stern makes several accusations
referring to the “B” file. The autopsy doctor for Carolyn, Dr.


Kumigeye, testifies that he found spermicidal jelly along with type A semen in
Carolyn’s vagina. Stern shows Dr. Kumigeye a report from a gynecologist proving
that Carolyn had her tubes tied six years prior. Dr. Kumigeye has made a big
mistake, possibly mixing up her report with one of the other eighteen people
that he examined that week. Stern asks the doctor if he can testify with no
hesitance that Carolyn Polhemus had no spermicidal jelly present. Dr. Kumigeye
could not justify this statement. The apparent falsified evidence leads to the
case being dismissed. Rusty is judged as a hero and Stern as a wonderful
attorney. After sometime life begins to return to normal for Rusty, except his
work. He finds it hard to go back and face the people who did not believe in
him. During his period of adjustment, Rusty starts the project of fixing the
broken fence at he and Barbara’s home. He retrieves a tool and finds it has
blood and a blonde hair dried up on it. This tool matches the description of the
tool used in Carolyns’s murder. He goes to the basement and washes the blood
from the tool as Barbara looks on. Rusty and Barbara agree to split up, but not
divorce. Yes, Rusty was obsessed with Carolyn and yes, Rusty neglected and
betrayed his wife, but he did not realize that his selfishness would lead to
such a raw act of violence. His infidelity lead to the fantasy of a woman taking
out the “other” woman who stole her husbands mind, body and soul.


Rusty thought about it over and over again. He pieced it together and discovered
that Barbara Sabich murdered Carolyn Polhemus. Scott Turow, being an attorney
himself, writes a tragic story of a family torn from an affair that never ended
in Rusty’s mind, heart and body. Carolyn made Rusty ache for her and she knew
it. She had definitely mesmerized all of the men in “Presumed
Innocent.” Turow throws out several hints that Rusty did it. One would be
the scene in Stern’s office where Rusty acts like the prosecution and role-plays
being the murderer. The motif would have to be the revenge and murder of a
husband’s lover. Turow uses Rusty as first person to tell the story. Rusty’s
tone is mellow, yet anxious, laid-back and ripe at times. The novel proved to
have two conflicts. One being Rusty’s decision not to turn in his wife and the
other is the conflict within himself about why he wanted Carolyn so bad. I
recommend this book to anyone involved in a relationship, especially if you are
cheating on someone. Through out the novel I wanted to skip to the end. The
suspense of “who did it” is relentless. My first guess was that Rusty
found out about Raymond’s affair with Carolyn and became jealous enough to kill
her. My second guess was that Raymond found out about Rusty’s affair with
Carolyn and set him up. I suggest reading the novel and renting the movie. There
were a few differences between the book and the movie. The main one was that in
the movie Barbara Sabich confesses to the murder of Carolyn Polhemus after Rusty
washes the hatchit. In the novel, Rusty figures out that his jealous, crazy wife
fantasized, plotted and killed Carolyn Polhemus.